Sunday, October 30, 2011

Charlie - The Hunter Gatherer

This weekend, while the east coast dug out from an early snow, we in the Pacific northwest were in search of mushrooms. When it gets a little cool and the rains start coming back here, chanterelles start popping up and the forests fill with mushroom hunters. Charlie and I jumped at the chance to go out with friends who can tell the good 'uns from the bad 'uns.

"Where are we going, Mom?"

Happy dog, ready for an adventure

I wasn't sure how Charlie would behave in the woods, especially if we ran into another dog or a deer or a varmint, so I kept him leashed a lot of the time. He wore a light pack and carried his own water (for the first time) and seemed to have no trouble with the weight.

Some of the terrain was a little steep, but we both managed it without incident. The leash even turned out to be of benefit (to me, anyway), as Charlie charged ahead uphill. ;)

Some parts were easy walking and others had downed trees and sometimes dense undergrowth, but Charlie and I learned to work together, spotting and clearing paths.

For the most part, Charlie ignored the mushrooms. He loved it, however, when someone found one - they'd let out a little cry, and Charlie would help them celebrate by jumping on them and snuzzling their face. In truth, that's probably the best argument for continued leashing in future trips -- the chanterelles often grow in little groups and it's not hard for an unrestrained celebratory big dog to trample the delicate fungi.

Charlie sniffs a white chanterelle (I think)

I mentioned that Charlie ignored the mushrooms for the most part. There was one very notable exception. As we approached a big downed log, Charlie went over to something big and started sniffing around it -- suddenly I could see that it was a flying-saucer-sized mushroom. I called in the expert, who pronounced it an edible bolete. I don't know if it's as tasty as a chanterelle, but it's certainly dramatic-looking and big enough for a family of 4!

Charlie's mushroom (on the right) and a smaller one (left)

The bad news now for Charlie is that I'm going to eat our findings and he's not. My reasoning is that if he learns they're edible and, dog forbid, develops a taste for them, he'll find the chanterelles first and eat them on the spot the next time we go mushroom-hunting. So he'll have to be content to lick the saute pan for now.

Our mushroom catch of the day (we gave the flying saucer away)

It was absolutely a great day! We got to tramp around in the woods and came home with mushrooms, to boot. You don't find as many 'shrooms when you're managing a big dog, but we'll definitely do this again!!



Kari in Alaska said...

Oh wow those all look so yummy!

Stop on by for a visit

Finn said...

What an awesome day! That looks so delicious, and we completely understand not sharing. Yum!

How Sam Sees It said...

It sounds like an absolutely marvelous day! We would have liked to come with!


Salinger The Pug said...

Oh wow...what a fun day! look like you ate a different kind of 'shrooms in that second picture! HAHAHAHAAA!

Happy Halloween, Dude!


Penny's Mumma said...

What a fun day for all of you!! So good to hear from you, I missed Charlie.
Happy Halloween!

Meeka said...

Mushrooms, hmm, that's a different treat.
Happy Howl-o-ween.

Rick said...

Charlie. What's the world coming to? You had to carry your own water? :)
Looks like a great adventure!

Paco,Milo, Maya and mommy Simona said...

Wowowowowoooo!! What a great day you had!!! And mommy loves mushrooms too!!!!! You look soo happy in the woods and such a great helper finding them!!! Sure your mom would have been so proud of you!!! We are!!!!!!!!!! Have a great weekend!!!! Love you!! Mwahhhhhhhhhhhhhh